Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Indoor Outdoor Dinner for the Swedes

The Swedes came to visit -- Erik and Anna and sons William and Arvid. They lived here eons ago and William was born in our little town on the prairie. But they moved back home to Sweden when William was small.

And finally, they came back for a visit -- and a visit to our little town on the prairie would not be complete without a visit to Linderhof. When they lived here, they were often dinner guests and when their parents came for a visit, the parents, too, had dinner at Linderhof.

What fun it would be to have the third generation around our table.

To show the boys real American food, we planned a BBQ -- husband Jim spent the day before slow smoking a brisket -- outside!

But, alas, the weather did not cooperative -- high heat and high humidity made for uncomfortable Swedes. It doesn't get in the mid 90's in Sweden -- and the humidity is not 100%.

So inside the party came!

We still used our outdoor cotton tableclothes, however -- the rectangular green ones.
A simple table -- for the wine glasses and wine bottles are still in the living room -- we often start our evening there with wine and snacks and the glasses and the bottles come to the table when we move to the dining room for dinner.
A menu at every place -- and the menu was also the placecard -- their name being at the top.
Garden flowers -- the same we would have used had we been outside -- and to bring the outside in -- some ceramic birds in green. The green and white of the lacecap hydrangeas go well with the green tablecloth. And for candlelight, some silver votive holders -- the best kind of candle to use outside -- they don't blow out!
The blue and white "outside" dishes -- Johnson Brothers Asiatic Pheasant -- bought, really, to use outside, although we sometimes use them inside as well for a change of pace! And gold napkins (in my silver rings) -- which pick up the gold in the tablecloth.

Served family style in the breakfast room -- Jim's heavenly smoked brisket, a platter of shredded lettuce and onion and dill pickles -- in case anyone wants to use the roll for a sandwich, a casserole of cheesy grits (which they don't have in Sweden), and no BBQ would be without coleslaw -- my grandmother's oil and vinegar coleslaw. And to top the brisket, the last bottle of the best BBQ sauce in the world -- Old Fort BBQ Sauce -- once made right here i Fort Scott -- alas, no longer! Saved for a special meal, we felt that this meal was special enough to use that very last bottle!

For dessert, that heavenly strawberry pie -- and not a crumb of that was left! Arvid even had two pieces!

It was a great night of visiting and catching up and we were sorry to see them go. The boys were very good and acted so very grown up. Friends Anne and Tim and his brother, David, also joined us for the evening for they, too, were good friends with Anna and Erik during their stay here. And Anne and Tim had joined us when The Parents came so long ago. It was only fitting when the children came that they also joined us.

It's Thursday and so I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch with my Indoor Outdoor Dinner. See what other fascinating tables there are this Thursday as you join Susan (whose tables are always the best)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Rare Bloom

I'm not a real "water feature" person. I do like water in the garden but it doesn't have to be a feature, however . . . . two years ago Husband Jim and I found the cat.

The first year, he sat in a black tub in the place where the "pond" now sits. We loved the charming one-eared cat having fallen in love with this fountain when we first saw it at a Garden Center in the city.

Last year, we had a pond dug so he would have a proper place.

And last year we put in a water lily -- a $30 water lily! As well as three small water hyacinths. The three hyacinths became a mass of hyacinths, that we moved, gave away, threw away . . . all the while the water lily disappeared. . . . .

But the hyacinths are not winter hardy on the prairie and so they were gone with the first frost. The water lily grew dormant and, alas, it, too, disappeared.

Only to reappear this spring -- and grow and grow and grow.
Last week, it bloomed! The first bloom. A rare bloom! It closed at sundown only to open again the next two days.

I love water lilies with their big leaves floating on the surface and that bloom -- so extra special.

No more water hyacinths for us -- we learned our lesson last year -- our first with the pond. The only thing I could wish for -- a frog to sit on the lilypad. Alas, I thought I had some tadpoles but they disappeared.
One of Oliver's duties is to make sure that cats don't bother the fish in the pond -- he takes his job seriously -- always on watch!

The pond is his first stop on his morning ritual -- smelling his way around it . . . . and in the year plus that we've had it -- he's only fallen in twice!!!!! Scaring the fish, I'm sure, as much as it scared him!

It's Wednesday which means that it's Outdoor Wednesday so please join Susan at A Southern Daydreamer to see what wonderful outdoorsy things there are this Wednesday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Treasure of China and a Treasure of Chocolate

It's fun going to antique shops and I frequent the ones in our little town. One never knows what one might find in them. Treasures abound everywhere -- even my little town on the prairie.

A shop long closed (but with treasures still inside) opened again for this weekend and everything was 70% off -- of course, I went inside . . . and hopefully there would be a treasure!

And there was!

A tea cup from around the 1830's. It's handleless -- as early English teacups were (for the Chinese teacups (from whence the English got their tea) did not have handles.) And it was a true treasure -- $6!!!
I had to have a cup of tea with my new teacup -- tea for one, alas, because I had only one treasured tea cup. But the tea was in my silver pot -- a teacup like this deserves a silver pot! And the nosh -- a four layer chocolate cake! The teapot and the cake befitting such a Royal cup1
It has flowers -- pink and yellow ones and the green is not leaves but rather peacock feathers. And a flower and feathers are in the bottom of the cup and on the inside rim as well!
The saucer is abloom with flowers and peacock feathers and it's deep -- for saucers were used not to hold cups but rather to drink out of -- it's deep enough that it will hold the entire cup of tea!

And the nosh --

This delightful four layer cake! Alas, I did not make it just for me and tea -- it was leftover from a luncheon I had on Friday. But it did make an elegant snack that was perfect for my new elegant tea cup.

Alas, I would love to have three more -- or even be greedy and lust for five more -- but the only marking on the bottom is a blue Y -- I would have no idea where I could get any more -- for any price!

It's Tuesday -- which means that it's Tea Time -- There are so many wonderful Tea Times on Tuesday that I've decided to join them all! Plus, Marty at A Stroll Thru Life, has her Tabletop Tuesday -- and what is on my table is my new tea cup!

Visit these lovely ladies and enjoy your Tuesday Tea Times!

Terri at Artful Affirmations for Tea Time Tuesday

Martha (another Martha) at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday

Pam at Breath of Fresh Air for Tea Pot and Tea things Tuesday

Katherine at Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor for Tea Time Tuesday

Wanda Lee at the Plumed Pen for Tuesday Tea for Two

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Little Bit of Paint

Changes at Linderhof are small and sometimes come in steps. The first step was moving the iron table from the patio to the pergola. To use for a spot of tea or a dinner in the herb garden. We did that the first of the month -- and I love it under the pergola. It is the perfect place for the table (although it's been so hot, I've yet to have afternoon tea out there!)

The second step was accomplished last week when Husband Jim decided to paint . . . he did not like the white chippy (although I did) and after much discussion, suggested a matte rust color to go with the legs of the piece and the furniture.

I chose the paint -- which was rust but it now seems almost red to me in the garden -- but it does pick up the terra cotta of garden pots and gives a spot of color to the pergola. I often find that Husband Jim has an uncanny knack for choosing colors -- I'm the "vanilla ice cream" of the pair -- he's the "tin roof sundae"!
And surprisingly enough the legs were not painted -- they are rust -- you can't tell in this picture can you?

I am looking for a bit milder temperatures when I can enjoy my cup (or glass) of tea while gazing at the herb garden. But July is not known for mild temperatures -- it may be September before I can truly enjoy the "new" table in the garden.

The blue pot was a gift from a dear friend when Jim's mother passed away -- it had a lovely hydrangea in it. This friends knows my affinity for blue and it is a perfect pot for this spot of the garden! I think of her every time I gaze out the breakfast room windows and see the pot of cheery marigolds.

Interestingly, Husband Jim and I lugged the table from patio to pergola. It is heavy with the iron top and iron legs but we managed and got it in place. While he was preparing to paint (in the pergola -- we weren't about to lug the table from pergola to driveway to paint) somehow the table fell -- and off came the top -- it's two pieces and if I knew that I certainly forgot it! It made lugging the one piece -- the iron top -- so much easier. Off to the drive it went (and now we have rust colored gravel).

It's Monday which means that it's time for Met Monday -- please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see what other metamorphosis there are this Monday. It's always fun to see what projects we've been working on!

And it is also Blue Monday -- and what better blue than a pot in the garden? Join Smiling Sally to see what other blues there are this Monday? Blue blue summer skies, perhaps?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

8 Wonders of Kansas History

Back in May, I asked for you help -- to vote for our Fort as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History. Voting closed at midnight on June 15 and the winners were announced last Tuesday.

Because of you -- the Fort Scott National Historic Site was selected as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History (to see the others -- visit the Friends of the Fort website)

We love our Fort -- it was what founded our little town and we are proud that in the 70's it became a National Historic Site and was reconstructed and restored. It is a great place to visit on Summer Sundays -- walking around the Fort, feeling that you're part of history, realizing all that happened on those grounds over the last 168 years.

We're an old town for Kansas -- most of Kansas being settled after the civil war. And as you leave the Fort, you see our historic downtown which recently was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Fort Scot is a great place to roam on Summer Sundays!

It's blue skies over our Fort. And I'm asking for your help.

Vote TODAY for Fort Scott National Historic Site

We've made the short list of 24 for the 8 Wonders of Kansas History and I'd love to see our beloved Fort named one of those 8 Wonders.

To vote:

Vote early and vote often
(you can vote three times per email address)

You don't have to live on the prairie to vote -- it's open to everyone so I would appreciate your help to make sure that our Fort is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History. Please read about the candidates -- it does give an idea of what an interesting historical story Kansas weaves.

And you can't just vote for our Fort -- you have to vote for 7 others as well.

Because the sky is blue over the Fort, it's Blue Monday so please visit Smiling Sally to see other blues this Monday!

It's Sunday and so time for Sunday Favorites so please join Chari at Happy to Design and also enjoy Summer Sundays at The Tablescaper.


We have a love affair with stargazers -- the late June and early July bloom in the garden -- we love their pink color and their heady fragrance.

We're always excited when the first one pops open and we usually bring it inside to enjoy both his beauty and it's fragrance. Our first one for 2010 was this week. We're elated over this first bloom . . . . and there are many more in the garden still in bud.

We find that we're always able to "tuck" a few more here and there in the garden -- besides enjoying them outside we also enjoy them inside in bouquets for the table.

They're a magical lily and much appreciated in Linderhof's garden.

And in winter, if we can find them, we'll splurge with a boughten bouquet now and again -- they make summer seem that much closer when it's dreary outside.

It's Pink Saturday so please join Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see what other pinks there are this Saturday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Grits -- Cheesed and Herbed

Kansas isn't South but we do have enough South in us that "local favorites" include fried chicken and biscuits and gravy (creamy sausage gravy) and iced tea. But we're not that Southern for you don't often find a Grits dish on menus in Kansas (unless you eat at a Cracker Barrel).

But we like Grits. Not often but it does make a good side dish with grilled or roasted beef.

This was a new recipe. With herbs from the garden and Boursin cheese -- it was a yummy dish.
I made half the recipe which was perfect for filling two small ramekins for dinner. I gilded he lily by garnishing with some chive stems.

The recipe comes from a favorite herb cookbook -- Cooking with Herbs by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead. It's in the Southern section, of course!


4 cups water
1/2 t. salt
1 cup quick cooking grits
1 stick butter
1/4 pound Boursin garlic and herb cheese
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. chopped fresh chivs

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly add the grits and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the butter and cheese. When they are melted, add the parsley and chives. Blend thoroughly and serve.

It's Food Day so it must be Friday -- join Michael at Designs by Gollum to see other other fantastic food offerings there are on this Foodie Friday!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

After the Salad Luncheon Tea

Last Wednesday, the Lutheran Church in the little town 20 miles east of us had their annual Salad Luncheon. Friend Sally and I attended and had a great time, tasting all of the good salads -- always two meat, two vegetable and two fruit, with Sally's (but not friend Sally) breadsticks and a dessert -- this time it was a chocolate peanut butter cookie.

We did a bit of shopping after and then when we got back to Linderhof, there was tea and a cake awaiting us for a midafternoon nosh.

The table still held Tuesday's Quaker Lace tablecloth and the blue vase with the lacecaps. And, of course, I had to use my blue and white.
Spode Blue Room cups and saucers, tea plates and even a teapot. Mrs. Boland's silver forks and a wee starched pressed napkin.
There is nothing so homey as a lace tablecloth, a vase of flowers, a cake and the Spode!
And the cake -- a new recipe that I wanted to try. From an old cookbook bought at a garage sale during the last month. The 50 cent price was worth every penny if I got nothing else but this cake. It's French and translates to "Everyday Jam Cake". I fudged and added lemon zest to the batter and lemon curd instead of jam. Sally pronounced it "the best"!
With lemon in the cake and in between the layers, yellow sugared pansies seemed the ideal decoration.

It's Thursday and time for tablescapes. So please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see what everyone is doing on their tables this Thursday. At Linderhof, we had afternoon tea! The tea of choice with this lemon cake? An Earl Grey with a hint of citrusy bergamont.

Gateau De Jour
(Everyday Jam Cake)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup apricot jam
2 - 3 T. powdered sugar

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixer. Add eggs and beat until blended. Sift and measure flour. Combine with baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture with milk. Beat only until blended.

Lightly oil a 9 inch layer cake pan with 2 inch sides. Dust with flour. Cut waxed paper to fit bottom of pan and place over flour. Spoon in cake batter and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.

As soon as cake is cool enough to handle, invert it onto yur hand and quickly peel off the waxed paper. Place cake sooth-side-up on serving dish. Split in half horizontally. Spread jam between layers. Place a lace paper doily on top of cake. Sift powdered sugar over top. Carefully remove doily. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: I added the zest of 1 lemon to the batter. And then I used lemon curd instead of jam between the layers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Garden Tour

Saturday, a group of members of the Bourbon County Master Gardeners and Garden Club traveled south to Pittsburg to attend the garden tour sponsored by the Zone 6 Garden Club. They hold their tour in even years -- on Father's Day Saturday and we hold our tour in odd years on Father's Day weekend.

Last year, we were in a gardening frenzy as the gardens of Linderhof were on tour -- this year, we were able to relax, travel to Pittsburg and enjoy being a garden guest rather than a gardener!

It was a great tour and the members of the Zone 6 Garden Club do a great job. All of the gardens were great and, of course, I had camera in tow. Pictures from the tour . . .

It's Wednesday which means that we're all over at Susan's A Southern Daydreamer -- see what else is Outdoors this Wednesday!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Orchids

I first knew orchids when I was a teen and read Nero Wolfe -- his brownstone with the top floor being a greenhouse devoted to orchids. He'd spend mornings and afternoons up there tending to the orchids with his gardener. Rare and prized were orchids and one could only grow them with the proper greenhouse -- or so I thought.

But then there were orchids at Costco. The common and easiest grown orchid -- phalaenopsis. And so, one came home with me and then another and another . . .

They are easy to grow and I've even got them to rebloom. And they have such interesting colors.

And they are perfect on this tabletop in the breakfast room -- a cluster of them -- so much better than a lone orchid here and there!

The one on the left is white with hot pink stripes and is still blooming from March! The little lime green one in front is new -- replacing one that didn't make it. And the one on the right is one that soon will be blooming -- but I've forgotten what color it will be.
I don't like "fancy" pots for flowers -- preferring terra cotta ones -- someone plants look better in terra cotta -- and these -- these are Guy Wolff orchid pots. A perfect vessel, methinks, for orchids.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday.

And what's on the dinner table this Tuesday -- the first, the very first garden tomato -- special enough to be a course on it's own. Sliced with a shower of garden basil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

It was heaven!!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blue BERRY Monday

It's Blue Monday and what better for Blue Monday than a Blueberry cake on a Blue platter!

This is a wonderful cake -- great for a picnic dessert OR a breakfast sweet as well as an afternoon tea nosh. It goes together easily even though you have to whip the egg whites.

And it is especially good with fresh blueberries which are now coming to the market in mass.
Blueberry time of the year is one of my favorites -- following on the heels of strawberry time.

You can make it with frozen blueberries but I think it is so much better with the fresh!
I like the sprinkle of sugar over the top -- it adds a glitter and shine!

Blueberry Cake

2 eggs, separated
1 cup plus 1 T. sugar
8 T. butter, at room temperature
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in 3/4 cup sugar. Add egg yolks and beat until light and fluffy.

Remove 2 T. flour to a small bowl. Sift together the remaining flour and the baking powder. Alternately mix the dry ingredients and milk into the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and beating until blended before each addition. Stir in 1/4 of the egg whites to lighten the batter. Gently fold in remaining egg whites.

Toss the blueberries with the reserved 2 T. flour. Fold into the batter. Turn into a greased 8 inch square metal baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1 T. sugar over the top.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before serving.

It's Blue Monday so join Smiling Sally and see what other blues there are this Monday.

Reprise -- The Garden Tour

A year ago this weekend we were in the midst of the Secret Garden Tour . . . . the gardens were manicred, nary a weed in site and we opened our garden to visitors from far and wide. It was a fun, although hot, weekend and we enjoyed sharing our garden.

For Sunday Favorites with Chari and Happy to Design, I thought I would share my post from last year about the Garden Tour. It brings back happy memories.

And I'm joining The Tablescaper for her Summer Sundays. There is nothing more summery than a Garden!

The Garden Tour was a great success and here are some pictures of Linderhof's gardens -- at their best!
"Jeeves" directing tour guests to go onto the front porch.
Where our ticket takers sat under a cooling ceiling fan and sheltered from the sweltering sun.
Under the portico past the ferns into the back garden.

A few of my planters (I collect them!). The tall tree is a Dew Drop Tree -- one of the most asked about plants on the tour.

Before you enter the garden, a bistro table and chairs. It's a shady place in the morning.
And through the garden gate . . . . so many people stopped to admire the succulent living wreath.
And into the garden -- with the fish pond on the right, the breakfast room straight ahead and the back garden and herb garden just a few feet away.

From the potting shed, this is the view of the pergola.

You go from patio through another arbor into the herb garden.

From the pergola looking toward the breakfast room.
From the side garden looking toward the patio.

I wanted to share part of Linderhof's garden at Susan's Outdoor Wednesday. For more outdoor spots, visit Susan at A Southern Day Dreamer.

It was fun being part of the tour and both Husband Jim and myself thoroughly enjoyed the weekend (although Saturday morning was a bit hectic). The gardens never looked better and I was happy to share them with the Tour Goers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Flamingos -- our Summer Visitors

As the swallows return to Capistrano in the Spring, so do the flamingos return to our little town on the prairie in the summer.

It's not a large flock but it does stay within the city limits as it moves from house to house. Usually staying a week before they move on.
Some of them have been around for a while and actually we have three different broods -- but they are all pink and they are all flamingos! And they all like to flock!

The reason that the flamingos return to our town every summer . . . .it's a funraiser sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce Tourism Division. It makes a little money but the smile that flock of flamingos bring to our visitors is why we do it.

Other towns may have their cows on their horses -- we have the flamingos!

It's Pink Saturday -- and what is pinker than a flamingo? -- so please join Beverly at How Sweet the Sound and have a great Pink Saturday!